We are saddened to report the passing of one of our longest tenured RISE volunteers. Jack Keenan, also known as 'Mister Old Time Radio' on RISE, passed on November 13, 2014. Jack began volunteering in 1982 and continued his weekly hour long Old Time Radio Theater show until a few months ago. Jack will be remembered for his love and knowledge of old time radio programs and for his long tenured dedication and support of WMHT's RISE. In lieu of flowers he has requested that donations be made to WMHT-RISE. Jack’s legacy will continue on at WMHT.
'Mister Old Time Radio' Celebrates 30th Anniversary
For the past 30 years, Jack Keenan has produced and hosted weekly installments of 'The Old Time Radio Theater' on WMHT’s RISE radio reading service for the blind and print disabled. It’s an incredible anniversary for Mr. Keenan, often referred to as 'Mister Old Time Radio,' whose first show aired on March 6, 1982.
'The Old Time Radio Theater' is a truly unique program on a unique service. RISE is WMHT's 24-hour radio information service for the blind and print disabled. RISE is heard on specially tuned receivers by thousands of individuals who are unable to utilize traditional printed materials. Each week, a dedicated team of volunteers reads articles from local and national newspapers, popular periodicals and books to audiences who would otherwise be unable to access such information.
In order to hear RISE, listeners must have a special receiver. Receivers are loaned free-of-charge to applicants who are currently registered with the New York State Commission for the Visual Handicapped or the Library of Congress Talking Books Program.
Jack Keenan, like all of the program hosts on RISE, is a volunteer. The format of his 'Old Radio Theater' program features a radio program from the 'Golden Days of Radio' such as THE LONE RANGER, FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY or GANGBUSTERS. Interviews with prominent individuals from throughout the regional community are interspersed between these classic old-time radio programs. Mr. Keenan does it all; he finds the classic radio programs, schedules the guests, conducts the interviews and edits it all into an informative and engaging program.
Mr. Keenan will be celebrating his 30th anniversary on RISE throughout the month of March with a range of special guests including the Honorable Paul Tonko, U.S. Representative for New York's 21st congressional district; the Honorable Jack McEneny, New York State Assembly member for the 104th Assembly District; the Honorable Jerry Jennings, City of Albany Mayor; the Honorable Kathy Jimino, County Executive of Rensselaer County; Jane Schramm, Executive Director of Senior Services of Albany; Chris Burke, Executive Director of the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany; and many others.
During the past 30 years, Mr. Keenan has produced over 1,600 programs and interviewed over 320 guests. Perhaps most importantly, he has provided hundreds of hours of enjoyable and informative programming to thousands of listeners who rely on the services of RISE to stay informed and engaged in our community.
Robert Altman, WMHT President and CEO, said 'Jack is not only an extraordinary and tireless volunteer who has positively impacted thousands of lives over the past 30 years, he is a true gentleman who inspires our staff and his fellow volunteers through his exemplary commitment to RISE and the listeners who depend on his program.'
Joyce Stah, Manager of RISE, said 'This radio reading service relies on volunteers and it’s a rarity to have a volunteer devote 30 years of their life to an organization. Jack’s volunteerism is an extraordinary gift to our listening audience and I’m thankful for his 30 years of service. It wouldn’t be RISE without Old Time Radio on the schedule.'
For details about RISE, click here.